Anyone looking for a job is invited to join labor union Unite Here Local 1 this Saturday to apply for job openings in the hospitality field across Chicago. The union took it upon itself to ensure that these 80-plus jobs get filled and receive full attention in the community.
The job openings are the product of various boycotts, sit-ins and strikes throughout companies across Chicago, most notably at Hyatt Hotels locations. Hyatt ended a contract dispute with workers over the summer after a four-year fight with the union.
Unite Here and its members, including workers and community supporters, fight to improve wages and working conditions for hospitality workers through contracts.
The increase in wages is one of the reasons companies are slow to hire any new employees. Higher wages mean more money coming out of the company’s wallet.
Companies have to pay the workers union wages, which average around $15 an hour. Union contracts also call for benefits, including health insurance, pensions, vacations and paid holidays.
Michael Johnson, a convention service worker at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, has seen the benefits of being a part of Unite Here. His job entails setting up banquet halls with tables and chairs for hundreds of people, depending on the event. Before the Hyatt signed the contract, they were subcontracting workers’ jobs which left them with little work for less pay.
“[The Hyatt] gave jobs to a company called United Maintenance, and they were paying them $7 an hour to do this work,”Johnson said. “Since we got our contract ratified, Unite Here Local 1 members have taken their work back and that provides … a better pay rate for our members.”
Johnson also pointed out that since Hyatt has signed the contract, his pay rate is now at a little more than $16 an hour, a huge step forward from when he used to make $7 an hour working at a fast-food restaurant.
“Now, I’m a leader, and I’m outspoken, and Unite Here did that for me,” said Johnson of his experience with the union.
According to Unite Here, although they are not an employer for the workers, they know how the business works and where the jobs are. The union already represents more than 15,000 workers around Chicago, helping them get better pay, better working conditions and providing a sense of community for workers.
The 80 job openings they are attempting to fill will only add to the already unified hospitality workers.
The job fair will be held at the Unite Here Local 1 office at 218 S. Wabash on the seventh floor between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday. Those interested should have a valid ID, contact information, work history and a valid social security number. Also, applicants should expect to be drug tested by the employer.